USA Olympic team member?
That’s the next goal for senior sprinter Ronnie Baker, even after all the accolades he has received this season.
Baker said he hopes to place in the top three in the 100-meter event in July. That would earn him a spot on the 2016 Olympic team, meaning he would represent the United States in Rio de Janeiro.
He said a lot of preparation involves hard work and training, but the biggest aspect is the mental mind game. For Baker, running is natural. But winning the race comes down to having a strong mind, he said.
“If you don’t believe you can achieve something, how are you suppose to accomplish it?” Baker said.
Asking that question worked.
This season for TCU, Baker racked up various awards and honors. One of his biggest accolades: being named to the Bowerman Award watch list, an honor is given to the top male and female athlete in track each year. During pre-season, Baker was named one of the 10 athletes on the list.
Another defining moment in Baker’s career was his NCAA 60-meter Championship, when he ran for a time of 6.47. This not only earned him the gold; it set an NCAA Championship record and a world-leading time.
“6.47 puts Ronnie on a whole other level,” said Daryl Anderson, TCU’s director of track and field.
During the NCAA Championship, Baker said he was taking in where he was, looking at who was watching him, and thinking about all the things he could accomplish in that moment.
“I was really trying to take everything in,” Baker said. “It’s overwhelming.”
Baker said his mom is one of the main reasons he competes.
“I’ve always wanted to be able to provide for her,” Baker said. “I just want to make her proud.”
Baker has loved running ever since he was in elementary school. He said he remembers going on runs and being able to out-run other kids who got head starts on him.
“From then on, my love for track and field has grown based on the people I have been around,” Baker said.
Even today, Baker said he admires his team’s bond and the desire they have to come together to help everyone out.
“We tell each other we can do better, that we can run faster,” Baker said. “I think that’s one thing we’ve accomplished in the last couple weeks, is just realizing we’re a team.”
Baker is still on the watch list for the Bowerman Award. The next watch list announcement is released May 19.